External Wall Cladding.
The most common consequence associated with faulty wall cladding is the “leaky” building. The reason, in most cases, is due to a lack of maintenance. There is a popular, although unfortunate misconception that all exterior cladding does not require any maintenance. Dangerous and costly consequences are inevitable with this mind set. “This lack of house owner and occupant knowledge suggests there would be benefits from requiring that they be provided with a maintenance schedule for their house, similar to a car handbook!” (See Note 1)
Firstly, we have to state emphatically that every built property requires maintenance and on a regular planned basis. The word “MAINTENANCE” derived from “MAINTAIN” is to allow all elements to function as originally designed.
The biggest investment made is usually YOUR house. It is therefore logical that you would want to protect that investment and by doing so enhance the value via your home’s capital gain: This is achieved by properly maintaining your property.
The Building Act states :(ii) “the need to ensure that maintenance requirements of household units are reasonable: (iii) the desirability of ensuring that owners of household units are aware of the maintenance requirements of their household units:” (See Note 2)
Buildsure Associates Ltd as part of their house assessments requires that the owner or their agents to have a competently prepared maintenance schedule for that building. This would detail a scheduled maintenance regime of what needs to be looked at, when it should be looked at, how to undertake the inspection, what to look for and what action to take if there is a possible failure.
Tiled Balconies That Leak
There are often problems encountered with balconies that have ceramic tiled surfaces on a timber substrate.
Firstly the main cause is due to the tiles being inflexible, nearly impermeable, bedded on an adhesive, laid on a membrane, over a timber substrate and the tiles grouted with non-elastomeric material.
As timber is hydroscopic, movement occurs in the substrate notably with humidity and moisture that in turn produces stress in the ceramic tiles and grout. Consequences are often cracks to the tiles and also to the grout.
These cracks provide a passage for water to enter. The membrane is then called on to do its job which, providing there are no flaws in the material or its application at the time of construction will remove the water ingress via a drain into the stormwater system. This is providing that the balcony was constructed with a drain similar to that shown below. If not, what often occurs is that the water flows in the direction of the drain as a result of the falls built into the balcony; but the drain has only been designed and built to accommodate water from the top inlet and not between or below.
Asbestos an emotive issue?
New Zealand has still a large amount of building stock containing asbestos and the buildings containing asbestos will be with us for many years to come.
Recent legislation has tightened the rules governing asbestos for health and safety, although oddly it is still not illegal to build with asbestos containing material.
Finding Faults in Residential Buildings
Buildsure is a private company which has provided house inspection services since 2004. Some 700 inspections have been completed, the majority for a pre-sale house condition assessment. This results in a detailed report and a "House Warrant of Fitness". The inspection takes approximately 4 hours and involves a detailed inspection of the building and site, including assessing the condition of habitable rooms, plumbing services, heating and cooking utilities, electrical, internal stairs and doors, moisture readings at selected openings, roof space, foundations & subfloor, exterior of property including windows, doors and stairs, storm-water and other external services, roofing, decks or balconies, garage and any other external out buildings.